You probably couldn’t squeeze a single morsel more of hardware power into the OnePlus 7 Pro if you tried. This, the more powerful of the two smartphones the company launched, is like the Concorde of the mobile world. Blazingly fast, breaking barriers and getting on with its mission of killing flagships.
In a triad of events across the world including in Bangalore, OnePlus presented the next generation of its already mighty phone.. We get to check out the OnePlus 7 Pro first with the regular OnePlus 7 to follow shortly. As things were, OnePlus was doing so well with its 6T that it’s been the top selling smartphone in the premium segment in the first quarter of this year, no minor feat given that the segment competition is headed by Samsung and includes the iPhone.
When OnePlus started out it did so with an understated but sleek design that ‘techies’ actually loved. Since then the design has moved on and become both bold and beautiful. It has been dressed in scintillating reds, pearly white, and a most unusual ‘Thunder Purple’.
This time we have the Nebula Blue which is likely to be quite a favourite, perhaps trumping the Mirror Grey. On the blue, light streaks through the glass and seems to make it glow in interesting ways. It’s beautiful, but you will have to put a specially grippy case on it to negate the thorough slipperiness of the deviceif you’re keen on not shattering anything.
Living with the phone for a week or so, I’ve only removed the case to gaze at the blue streaks before putting it carefully back inside a sand stone textured back-cover. Fingerprints show, but only just. If the back reminds you of any other phone, that should quickly be dispelled by the fairly prominent OnePlus logo. So, no this isn’t a Samsung or a Huawei.
You often have a phone that’s beautiful on the back but plain-Jane on the front. Not this time. The OnePlus 7 Pro has, perhaps, no bezels. There’s nothing that will take up space. There’s no front camera in sight and of course no buttons or other odds and ends. Don’t expect a comeback of the headphone jack either. Enhancing that edgeless look is the curved glass on the front. Not everyone likes that, but well, it does add to the look. No notch.
The screen has more to recommend itself than just barely-there bezels. It has a 90Hz refresh rate which means it refreshes 90 times per second. You should never feel a hint of slowness or lag whether you’re gaming or watching movies. However, the feature does eat up some of its 4,000mAh battery. So there’s the option of dropping the refresh rate to 60Hz if you just head to the Display settings. If you prefer to stick with the 90Hz, keep your Warp Charger handy and get a 50 per cent charge in only half an hour. In an hour and fifteen, you’re fully done. The display is a 6.67-inch which OnePlus called Fluid AMOLED with 3120×1440. It’s bright and also dials down to very dim when one wants — very comfortable on the eye if you happen to be looking at your phone in the dark. The display has a top A+ rating from DisplayMate, expert evaluators of screens in the tech industry.
Read: OnePlus launches OnePlus 7, 7 Pro for ₹ 32,999 onwards
The display is able to be so seamless in part because there’s a camera that slides out when taking a selfie or when using face unlock. It makes a soft motorised sound as it slips out and back in again. There are the usual worries about how long it will last etc, but honestly I haven’t come across a pop up camera that broke yet — it isn’t a common problem at all. The camera retracts quickly if the phone is dropped as I found when I tried it out on a soft enough bed. The front screen has no buttons, of course, and the fingerprint sensor is in-display working a fraction faster than on the previous phone though sheer hardware power will also be contributing.
Ripping with speed
The OnePlus 7 Pro works on the brand new 2.8GHz 7nm Snapdragon 855 with the 640 Adreno GPU. The chip will support heavy gaming, the new Wi-Fi6 standard, 5G and more. There are three RAM and storage configurations — we tested the 12GB with 256GB storage. The software is not to be sneezed at either. Android 9 Pie with Android 10 Q beta about to be made available for those who want to try it.
OnePlus’ Oxygen OS also has a number of improvements which we will take up in-depth. It goes without saying that the phone is blazing fast. Somehow, I find it snappy rather than smooth. You can scroll at top speed and navigate through various things in less than a blink of an eye. In fact, if you’re not paying attention, you’ll miss it. But phones like the Pixel and the newer iPhone do admittedly have a smoothness that seems difficult to replicate though a few Huawei and LG phones come close.
New camera setup
This time the OnePlus 7 series comes with a triple camera setup. The main camera is a 48MP outputting 12MP images. It can take full 48MP shots in RAW format as well.
The main camera uses a half-an-inch Sony IMX586 sensor and a custom-made 7-element plastic lens with an f/1.6 aperture and pixel size up to 1.6µm. With a swipe on the screen of the camera app you can also get to an 8MP 78mm telephoto lens using f/2.4 and a pixel size of 1µm, stabilised by OIS, and a 16MP 117° ultra-wide angle lens at f/2.2.
The telephoto lens lets you take some interesting macro shots as well. The results are pretty good with this being OnePlus’ best camera so far. It still doesn’t outdo the Huawei P30 Pro, Pixel, iPhone XS or S10+. Oneplus is using an algorithm they call Ultrashot to combine pixel binning, and other photo treatments enhance the images, specially for low light conditions. Basically, in daylight it takes crisp clear shots.
The OnePlus 7 Pro will certainly compete with its own brother, the OnePlus 7 which comes in at a lower price with the same processor but several other specifications a bit lower. Other flagships will need to worry.
Price: Rs 48,999 for 6GB RAM 128GB storage, Rs 52,999 for 8GB RAM 256GB storage, Rs 57,999 for 12GB RAM 256GB storage. The regular OnePlus 7 starts at Rs 32,999.
Pros: Maintains its value for money ratio, maxed out display, packed with specs, super fast usage, clean software with further improvements, triple camera setup with improvements, smooth pop-up front camera, very fast charging, big battery
Cons: Battery life takes a hit if screen left at 90Hz, no wireless charging, no water resistance rating, heavier than before, camera improved but not a deal breaker, speakers can still be a bit sharp, device may be too large for some